Asian stocks mostly higher following Wall Street recovery

Share prices were mostly higher in Asia in narrow trading ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday. Wall Street's recovery from steep losses helped boost sentiment despite discouraging data from the United States.


A man rides a bicycle past an electronic stock board showing Japan's Nikkei 225 index at a securities firm in Tokyo Thursday, Nov. 22, 2018. (Photo: AP)

KEEPING SCORE: Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 surged 0.7 percent to 21,646.55 and the Hang Seng in Hong Kong added 0.4 percent to 26,070.33. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 gained 0.9 percent to 5,691.30. South Korea's Kospi dropped 0.3 percent to 2,069.95. The Shanghai Composite shed 0.2 percent to 2,647.35. Shares fell in Taiwan but rose in Singapore, Thailand and Indonesia.

WALL STREET: Major indexes bounced back from two days of steep losses as retailers, technology and internet companies posted strong gains. The S&P 500 index added 0.3 percent to 2,649.93 and the Nasdaq composite rose 0.9 percent to 6,972.25. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was almost flat at 24,464.69. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks jumped 1.3 percent to 1,488.28. US markets will be closed for Thanksgiving on Thursday and will be open for a half-day on Friday.

US DATA: Sales of existing homes in the US rose in October, breaking a six-month losing streak, the National Association of Realtors announced Wednesday. Sales jumped 1.4 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.22 million in October from 5.15 million a month earlier. Still, the new numbers were still down 5.1 percent from a year ago. Durable goods orders also fell 4.4 percent last month from September, the largest amount in 15 months, with commercial and military aircraft leading the decline. 

ANALYST'S TAKE: "Basically the same issues — higher US rates, trade, tech correction and fears of its morphing into weaker global growth — are continuing to keep investors on edge," Shane Oliver, Head of Investment Strategy and Chief Economist at AMP Capital, said in an interview.

ENERGY: Benchmark US crude lost 2 cents to $54.61 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract gained $1.20 to close at $54.63 in New York. Brent crude, the international standard, gave up 36 cents to $63.12. It finished 95 cents higher at $63.48 in London.

CURRENCIES: The dollar eased to 113.05 yen from 113.07 yen late Wednesday. The euro strengthened to $1.1403 from $1.1383.